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Liverpool Fans’ Behaviour at Champions League Final

“A report by UEFA to be handed over to the British government on Tuesday will identify Liverpool supporters as the worst behaved at European matches over the last four years”.  http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/ticker/hub/football/index.html?item=1201743


Now, before I start, for the purposes of this blog, I am a non-biased football fan. I love all things football and aim to put that first. I am, however, a fanatical Liverpool fan and to avoid allegations of bias, should perhaps allow thefc100 co-editor to do this piece but as I feel strongly about it I’m going to go ahead.

I wasn’t at the final. Being a supporter living in Ireland it would have cost me at least 2,000 euro and I don’t have that money to spend, especially as I was unsure who to trust over tickets. This scepticism proved correct when the Irish papers were full of fans who had been ripped off in the days before the game. As the last chartered flight from Liverpool was cancelled, bad feeling must have been brewing for those who had forked out so much and yet were not going to get inside the stadium for the big game.

A friend, who did travel to the stadium, claims people on board certain chartered flights were given official UEFA merchandise which, when folded, revealed the official emblem of the Champions League, and saw hundreds waved through with a piece of paper worth a fiver, while others with legitimate tickets sat outside, wondering why they couldn’t get in?

On the day of the game, the local square was apparently full of singing, Liverpool fans with AC Milan fans intermingling and being subjected to nothing more than playful banter. While UEFA probably chooses to ignore this fact, it still remains true that problems only started when entrance to the stadium proved chaotic. There are no doubt Liverpool fans who are to blame for this. However, I have heard reports of one older man presenting his ticket at which point a young lad ran past, snatched it and hopped a nearby fence, the man chasing after him and getting nothing but a bloody face for his efforts. Other stories reported are people getting through with fake tickets bought on the off chance they would work at a price of around 50euro. Further stories include people getting inside and the authorities failing to mark the tickets as having already been used, thus fans were able to sell on their tickets once inside, to those desperate fans outside. I’m told that in the square the atmosphere was phenomenal, and that Liverpool fans conjugated there after the game and continued to sing and enjoy the night despite suffering defeat to AC Milan.

Uefa, who have received their fair share of criticism recently, now see fit to make villains of the fans as a whole. While I have no doubt there will have been Liverpool fans willing to try and do anything to get inside, and no doubt some of them acted terribly in doing so, this is the biggest club match on the European calendar, and to have a situation whereby people can get in to the ground with the official Champions League emblem is ludicrous. Had I paid the phenomenal amount of money it took to secure a ticket, and then been denied entrance to the ground along with thousands of fellow Liverpool fans, I would have taken some calming down….and I say this as someone who deplores football-related violence as it tarnishes the game and also allows other sports reflected glory (i.e you never see this in rugby etc…..)

Please anyone reading this who was there, leave a comment and let me know am I wrong to defend the fans’ actions. It just seems to me like Liverpool fans got extremely badly treated over the entire duration of this trip, and to be now named the worst fans for four years in spite of spine-tingling moments like Anfield Vs Chelsea, Gerrard V Olympiakos and the phenomenal win in Istanbul, just doesn’t seem fair to me, and I wish I had been there if only to be able to speak with more authority on this subject. For all those who failed to get in with legitimate tickets, Uefa let you down, and now seeks to call you not football fans, but violent, drunken thugs.

Uefa have a lot to answer for. A stadium with a good capacity is a must, but when fans say they will never go near a final again because of how they were treated, something is wrong with the beautiful game. When AC Milan can invite a host of former players as their personal guests, players like Shevchenko who has already both won and lost the final, when Alex Ferguson and his team, knocked out at the semi-final stage, sits amongst the high and mighty not giving a thought to the fans outside, something is wrong with the beautiful game. When prices go through the roof and even if you pay them you’re not guaranteed a ticket, when corporate boxes are filled with those who probably don’t even pay for their own ticket, allowing the fans to pay ten times the value instead, something is wrong with the beautiful game. Don’t expect Uefa to admit their role in the organisational chaos, do expect the blame to be landed squarely at those who went too far in their frustration. 

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Categories: Football, Liverpool, Soccer, Sport
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